Top 8 Questions to Ask When Picking a Payment Processor for law firm
Picking a payment processor for law firm is no small feat, as the wrong one can lead to slow payments, client frustration, extra fees, low cash flow, and a very real risk of compliance missteps.
Since so much is at stake, it's important to think carefully before landing on a decision for your practice. But if trying to figure it out all on your own is a source of stress, don’t fret. The team at Rocket Matter has you covered.
Back to basics: What is a law firm payment processor?
Payment processors for law firms accept credit card payments from clients, handling the transactions in accordance with the rules of each state's bar organization.
There are several options available on the market, from industry-agnostic products (think Helcim, Stripe, or Chase) to legal-specific payment processors (like LawPay or Rocket Matter Pay).
Things to consider when choosing a new legal payment processor
When it comes to running a profitable law firm, the right payment processor is key. But what constitutes one particular payment processor as “right” over another?
That depends. Which features and outcomes are most important to your firm?
- A higher bottom line?
- Smoother day-to-day operations?
- Straightforward trust accounting features?
- Top-of-the-line security?
- Air-tight compliance protocol?
Every law firm should consider its unique needs carefully, but it’s likely most—if not all—of the above. As a leading provider of legal software, Rocket Matter is here to walk you through the selection process and break down the must-have payment processing features that every law firm can benefit from.
Here are some important things to consider.
1. What payment options are available?
When clients can choose how they want to pay, they tend to pay more quickly.
Seek out a service that processes payments from various channels like debit and credit cards, electronic checks, and direct bank transfers. The best payment processing software should be able to handle different payment structures as well as different payment methods. If you have clients who want to pay onsite, you might also consider a payment processor that allows you to swipe an occasional card in-office.
2. Is the payment processor cost-effective?
In most cases, the vendors that maintain payment processors charge a fee to use them. This may come in the form of a monthly fee, a transaction fee, or both.
Fees can range widely, anywhere from 0.05% to 3% of the final payment, which can add up over time. And with so many numbers floating around, things can get messy. Using a payment processor with a clear, affordable fee structure is key to protecting your law firm’s profitability.
One potential solution? Use legal practice management software that includes an integrated payment processor.
3. How does the payment processor affect your billing workflow?
Choose accounting and billing software that "talks" to your payment processor to avoid having to enter the same information more than once, which can lead to mistakes. That said, make sure you know what data moves between your systems and in which direction.
With Rocket Matter Pay, your law firm can offer recurring billing and payment plans that are handled automatically. Easily create PDF invoices based on the tracked time that you can send to clients in just a few clicks, freeing you up for more knowledge-based work.
4. How long will it take for the funds to hit your account?
On average, firms that accept online payments get paid 39% faster than firms that don’t. Not every firm that accepts online payments gets paid in the same timeframe, though.
When a client clicks "send payment," will the money be available in one hour? One day? One week?
It depends on the kind of payment and how long it takes for your payment processor to process it. Payment processors usually release credit card funds in two to three days. Yet, eChecks can take at least three to five days.
But processing timelines are only part of the picture. The back and forth involved in maintaining separate invoicing, billing, and payment processing systems can also contribute to long wait times. For the shortest wait times, look for ways to cut down on bottlenecks and shorten the time spent on the billing process.
For example, Rocket Matter Pay uses the client details within your legal practice management software to create invoices, bill, and even collect payment in as little as twelve hours.
5. Is the software compliant?
In other sectors, it’s commonplace for payment processors to take a cut of the money being paid. A legal-friendly payment processor, on the other hand, doesn’t charge processing fees against client funds. Instead, the processor collects payment separately from your firm’s operating account.
6. Are the security and fraud protection features up to par?
The bar will hold your firm directly responsible for any breach of client confidentiality during the payment process, so choose legal payment processing software that incorporates measures to protect your clients' funds—as well as your legal license.
Choose a reliable ACH network and look for a platform with multiple built-in security layers and Level 1 Service Provider certification.
7. What do the reviews look like?
Don't rely on marketing materials to verify a payment processor’s quality. They often lack specificity about individual features. Instead, take a close look at review platforms like Trustpilot or G2 and see what the actual user experience is like.
8. Does the vendor offer high-quality customer support?
Even the best software providers experience downtime sometimes. Make sure you can get in touch with someone if the online system goes down.
Ideally, your processor should offer multiple forms of contact such as email, chat, and phone, and a robust training and knowledge base to walk you through any issues.
Test out your top picks
Marketing materials can claim whatever they like, but demos reveal the devil in the details. Take advantage of demos offered by various vendors to see the payment processor in action, so you can put the features and functionality to the test.
Take detailed notes during each demo and keep track of any issues or concerns that arise. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to make an informed decision.
Implementing your new payment processor
Once you’ve chosen your new payment processor, you’ll be left with just one more question—how will you implement it?
There are a variety of methods to choose from:
- Website payment portal
- Client Portal
- Invoice payment link
- Automatic recurring billing
When deciding on a method of implementation, take time to consider your client’s needs and preferences. Some clients may prefer direct links from digital invoices for easy access, while others might prefer the familiar method of a website payment portal.
One thing is for sure, no matter what you decide: a low-cost, fully-integrated payment processor for your law firm will increase client convenience, improve your cash flow, and streamline your billing processes so that your law firm can be as productive and profitable as possible.
Getting started with Rocket Matter Pay
Want to build a more profitable legal practice? Set up a free demo today to see how Rocket Matter Pay can help you reach your goals.
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